The Purdue University Northwest (PNW) College of Business and the College of Technology will host the final pitches in The PNW Big Sell competition starting at 1 p.m. on May 1. The annual competition, sponsored by NIPSCO, gives budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win up to $10,000.
“Main street entrepreneurs in the middle of the country get forgotten,” says Alexandra Moran, clinical instructor of entrepreneurship at PNW. “These are people with good ideas and strong leadership skills who need resources and ecosystems to build their businesses.”
The PNW Big Sell competition is open to the general public and gives individuals with an innovative idea, solid pitch and business plan the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in funding to put toward their startups.
The event, in its fifth year under the direction of Moran and Mont Handley, entrepreneur in residence and associate director of the PNW Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC), is organized and administered by members of Moran’s Social Entrepreneurship class.
“This competition opens the doors into the entrepreneurial world,” says Madison Sarkey, a third-year marketing major and member of Moran’s class. “Many people don’t know where to start or who to trust with their new innovations. Purdue Northwest hosting a pitch competition gives those who enter an easy and confident start.”
Class members reviewed and scored 40, two-minute video entries and selected the top 12 as finalists. Those finalists will have six minutes to deliver their final pitches to a three-person panel of local entrepreneurs, who will then choose a winner and two runners up. The award for first place is $10,000, followed by $5,000 to the first runner up and $2,500 to the second runner up. This year’s 12 finalists, in no particular order, are:
Dr. Paul Sommer
Their two-minute video pitches can be viewed on The PNW Big Sell YouTube page.
“This type of pitch competition is important,” states Drucilla Williams, marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship and a member of Moran’s class. “It inspires individuals to share a new idea or invention and pitch those ideas to experienced judges, receive feedback and grow from the experience.”
“A competition like this makes a difference in our community,” Moran adds. “We’re trying to create a community ecosystem of entrepreneurs and this is just one piece of it.”